Jenness’s Bio …
Jenness was born and raised in West Texas, the Midland/Odessa area of the Permian Basin. Growing up, she was the furthest from an “artist” or “performer,” and often avoided such activities. Jenness was, instead, a prolific sports’ athlete from preschool through high school, playing soccer, volleyball, basketball, and she even ran a little track, but preferred the team sports. She was often a leading “Defensive Specialist” no matter the sport and served as captain of every team she ever played on. She played Varsity ball as a High School Freshman, was awarded MVP and All-Team awards, selected for All-Region and All-District Divisions, and was sought out by Coaches and Talent Scouts for High School, College, Club, and Professional Leagues. Ironically, Jenness was also an avid academic, listed annually among “Who’s Who” in High School and College Students, received several “Scholar” awards in Junior High and High School for Latin and Spanish, selected for National Academic Societies, competed in State Academic Competitions, and served on the High School Honor Council. As a High School Freshman, she metaled in a Regional College Competition for English Writing. She graduated high school with a Writing Scholarship and the DAR Citizenship Award.
Comically, the reason Jenness was far more interested in sports and scholastic endeavors was not because she was too busy with the former activities to do anything else, nor was it because she had a repulsion of music, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Rather, the young Jenness suffered tremendously from an increasingly crippling stage-fright that became all-consuming by her early teens and would haunt her well into her 20s. As a youngster, she played instruments (violin, piano, then harp) and took choir and dance classes, but she abhorred the spotlight and despised her singing voice. By junior high, her stage-fright propensities had become so overwhelmingly restrictive that she dropped all instruments and artistic expression, focusing solely on her athletic and academic careers to avoid the discomfort and humiliation. As providence would have it, the one artistic elective she did end up keeping was choir, which she did so begrudgingly because it was the “easiest elective.”
Even so, life has a funny way of changing directions, and the aforementioned providence certainly had his way with Jenness’s life’s course. As a high school senior, Jenness, who to this day still doesn’t know how, was “somehow cast” as the leading lady in the choir’s Fall Musical, Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music, where she sang the famous ballad, “Send in the Clowns.” During the performance, something “dropped” into her spirit, and she knew, “I’m supposed to do this.” (Today, “Send in the Clowns” is Jenness’s staple piece). While her stage-fright proclivities were far from over, Jenness began looking at ways to pursue performance as a career, joining the Music Theatre Program at Abilene Christian University as her intended major.
Unfortunately, Jenness would not be able to complete that major. On June 16, 2002, a month after graduating high school, Jenness fell gravely ill and would spend the next 6 months in and out of hospitals, procedures, treatments, and surgeries from some unknown cause at the time. She rallied following a surgery that Fall, but 14 months later, after a semester as a Music Theatre Major, she relapsed with the same symptoms as before, and was forced to return home. It would be another 7 years before a diagnosis of Lyme Disease could be determined, and even then, Jenness would spend a total of 15 years in and out of wheelchairs, hospitals, specialty clinics, and undergoing a myriad of procedures and treatments, her life hanging in the balance on 3 separate occasions, all the result of the Disease’s non-diagnosis and horrific complications when left untreated. (The Full Story is shared in the video: Jenness’s Story).
Throughout the course of the illness, Jenness continued striving forward. Though unable to complete her Music Theatre program at ACU with her withdrawal from school in 2004, she continued her education online, earning her Bachelor’s of Science in Business & Leadership, during which she was selected for the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society, and completing a Masters of Arts Degree in Religion Summa Cum Laude. She continued training in several certification programs, including Life Coaching, Leadership, Counseling, Grief Recovery, and Ministry, and worked from home as an adjunct counselor and mentor for young women. It was also during this season that she wrote a blog called, “Blessed to Suffer,” the articles of which she conglomerated and put into her NESSIPEES Cookbook series, a series that includes some of her original recipe creations. She launched Rising Monarch Press to print and publish volume 1.
During seasons of reprieve, Jenness zealously pursued her artistic career, studying voice at Odessa College with acclaimed Opera Tenor, David Corman, and starring as the lead in Regional Musicals at Local Theatres in the Permian Basin before she headed to New York City to pursue voice and acting. New York City proved successful for the budding performer; she landed major commercial roles, print campaigns, modeling representation, and starred in her first film roles. However, her health failed while living there and some of her time in the Big Apple was spent recuperating from her apartment, where she tackled additional scholastic or certification courses.
In 2014, when her health had improved, Jenness moved to LA to continue pursuing her film career. Within a month, she was hired on as an Office Manager for the Production Company, SpeedReels, where she learned how to translate her writing into screenwriting, participating in all aspects of film production and directing. In 2015, she wrote a scene for her demo reel called “Becca and Miles,” which later launched the Becca on Call Pilot, Rising Monarch Prods, and set herself up for her future (and now current) career as a Producer, Entertainer, Author, and Motivational Speaker.
Today, Jenness continues to nurture the growth of the Rising Monarch Brand via her various RMP projects in addition to her speaking/singing engagements as an inspirational figure.